– Yogi Berra
Now that you are diligently completing your workouts each day, including some hill repeats on both the bike, practicing your transitions, doing a few “bricks,” and swimming some hard repeats in the pool with heads up and breath control, you are on well your way to successfully complete the Ruidoso Sprint Triathlon on June 9.
Congratulations. Your dedication and hard work will soon to be rewarded. Other triathletes, regardless of skill level, respect a strong, consistent workout ethic. The fastest pros respect the slowest age grouper when the pro knows that age grouper is putting in the time to reach their goal. You will be cheered and receive a knowing nod.
But, you’re not quite there yet.
Now is time to think about the details. What are you going to wear? What do you need to bring with you in the transition area? What else do you need to have a smooth race, to allow your fitness to shine? Preparation and attention to detail reduces the prerace anxiety that all triathletes cope with for every race.
First things first: What to wear. Since this is a reverse sprint triathlon (normally races follow a swim-bike-run order of disciplines), you will swim last and run first. Most triathletes, both male and female, who race sprint tris wear a “trisuit,” which is a one piece lightweight suit, worn for all three disciplines, thus reducing transition time.
For men, assuming you do not have a trisuit, the next best thing to do is to wear a thin pair of lycra shorts, or jammers, with a tight shirt over it (for aerodynamics on the bike), or even a bike shirt onto which you pin your race number. If you have a race belt, then all you need to do is pin your number to your race belt and take that off before the swim. You will run and bike wearing that shirt and upon entering T2 (the second transition), quickly remove the shirt, grab goggles and run to the swim start.
Women can either run in a one-piece suit, or – over your swimsuit. – wear a pair of tight fitting shorts for both the bike and run, and – once in T2 – remove your shorts and swim in your suit.
It is also possible to wear shorts and a bike shirt for the swim, but the bike shirt will not be as streamlined in the water as you would be without a shirt, as it will bulk up and create drag, making your swim much more difficult.
Other tips: The less you do in transition the more time you save. If you can, ditch the socks. Before you run, put some lubricant and talcum powder in the shoes to make them nice and comfy. Do the same with your bike shoes, especially if they rub anywhere on your feet. Also lube under your arms, or anywhere on your body that may chafe. If you plan on carrying a GU with you, put it in a pocket or in your shorts before the run so that you don’t waste time grabbing it (and potentially dropping it) during the transition to the bike. Make sure your goggles are clean by rinsing them out before the race. Bring a hat or visor if that is what you like to run in and practice removing it and placing your helmet on your head quickly.
The morning of the race, place only what you need in transition. Anything else is noise, will distract you and may get in the way. Bring a small towel upon which you will place your necessities, and take the rest to your car or your support crew.
Make a list of everything you need for your run, bike and swim (see http://triathlon.racechecklist.com/). The morning of the race place your “stuff” on the towel so that it will be easy to grab after each discipline, and practice this a few times before the race. Imagine yourself in the race and practice grabbing and going.
And if you get a chance, watch some International Triathlon Union (ITU) races on the web. Their transitions are seconds as their races are won in seconds. For example, the ITU race – to determine which American is going to the Olympics – held this past weekend in San Diego, the difference between first place and fifth place was only 30 seconds and the difference between first and 25th was only 90 seconds! You think they practice their transitions? You bet. A sprint tri is no different.
Plan plan, plan.
Details, details, details.
All columns are at http://www.ruidosofreepress.com/pages/sports_area
Sarah Crewe is a USAT (USA Triathlon) Level 1 coach who coaches triathletes and is a certified RPM, yoga and American Swim Coach Association Level 2 coach. She is lead faculty for health and physical education at ENMU. To contact Sarah Crewe for training or learn more about the Ruidoso Sprint Triathlon, call the Ruidoso Athletic Club at 575.257.4900.
Always contact your doctor before beginning physical training and it is advisable to have a personal coach.